Should you still be selling throughout a Pandemic?

It's the question on the lips of every business owner right now - both large and small. With half your clients on 80% of their wages with lots of time on their hands, and the other half facing serious financial hardship it can be really difficult to know what to do for the best. If your business is safe to operate then in theory it makes complete sense to do so but I know so many of you are being made to feel guilty or like you're profiting from this pandemic simply by keeping things open and striving to put food on the table in front of your children. We're balancing more than we have ever had to do before. Financial hardship, a loss in normal daily life and routine, worry for the safety and health of our loved ones, checking and rechecking for home delivery slots or nipping to the shops and having to worry every time you hear so much as someone clear their throat - then don't even get me started on homeschooling our children. All of that is without trying to actual do the activities that keep our business' running and growing. Then along comes coach sally on your newsfeed, telling you NOW is the time to make your mark. Adverts popping up telling you things like 'I've managed to host a £50k launch simply by working through the pandemic when others weren't and you should be too'. ...and that's just fine. Honestly. She totally has a point - there certainly is an argument for working while others aren't. However, she likely has lots of her workload outsourced to other people.

There will be some who are able to continue fairly normally and thats just wonderful, but it doesn't mean you're potentially now sat in the middle, wondering what on earth to do. Coach Sally tells you that you should be working. That there is cash to be made if you keep going where others have stopped. Your social media makes you feel like if you so much as suggest you're available to accept someones money in exchange for goods or services then you're the devil incarnate, profiting from the poor health of those around you. Then you sit and look at all the things you have to balance now and fit into your day - you're missing your family and friends, your husband is under your feet, you're worried about the amount of screen time the kids are having and it breaks your heart that you simply don't have the head space to give to your business. You know, the thing you've poured your blood, sweat and tears into...

MY advice... don't bow to pressure in either direction. The first and most important thing in this uncertain times is that you and your family are well, both physically and emotionally.

If you want or need to continue running your business then that honestly is ok. If people want your product or service then they will part with their money. Unless you have a gun to their head or are intentionally increasing your prices to take advantage then you are in fact NOT the devil incarnate and are simply responding to demand.

If you don't want or need to continue running your business then that honestly is ok too. The time will come when you feel ready to get back to things and if you want to instead take the time to devote to your children, or simply slowing things down and (heaven forbid) actually enjoying lockdown then you are welcome to do so. You started your business once, you can start it again once this is all over. If it helps, most of us are somewhere in between... keeping an online presence and doing 'some' work, but prioritising home and family life, and self care higher than usual. If this is you, here's some of the things that have helped me balance my business, my 6 year old, my partner working from home and a new baby...

1. Don't be afraid to ask for help

This is easier said than done for many mums! We tend to try and take on everything but usually, we at least get a few hours to enjoy things like a tidy home or the milk bottle actually being in the fridge for more than 5 minutes. It's unusual to have everyone at home constantly, and if they're home, they can help. Give everyone a task or 2 for the day, but remember, so long as the house is liveable, no one is going to see it for a while. Give yourself that space to breath.

2. Time block. For example, mornings are for home schooling, chores, and any errands or jobs. Afternoons are for screen time, sofa time, family movies or your own work (while they do the above). Without time blocking things can become a little overwhelming. You're constantly thinking 'I need to get some content out today', or similar - if you know those are afternoon jobs it's easier to relax and focus on what's in front of you.

3. Day on, day off. I've been noticing natural patterns in my behaviour. I'll have days that are busier than others and it's usually one day on, one day off - and thats ok. It's good to rest. It's good to switch off. It's good to give yourself some headspace. On the day off days, I'll write down anything I do get done, so at the end of the day I can look back and see I've still managed to be productive - just without the pressure 4. Do something that gets you excited. That can be things like reading, cleaning, running, playing with the kids, writing... anything that helps you find peace and make sure it's a part of your day.

5. Wash your hair

Everything feels better when you have freshly cleaned hair (apart from the ache in your arm from drying it). Wash your hair, put your makeup on, wear real clothes and put your shoes on. It's amazing the difference just having your shoes on can make to your productivity around the house!

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